As the research continues concerning the impact of trauma, we are realizing more and more how much trauma can have effect to our bodies. For many years we believed that traumatic events were something to get over and we thought it could be done through a mental process. The recent research helped us to understand the relationship between the mind and the body. The first indicators are somatic symptoms like tension, heart palpitations, shaking, panic attacks, headaches and all kinds of pain. Experiencing these types of reactions that occur rather unpredictably can be frightening.
In a recent article by health editor Stephanie Eckelkamp she summarizes some of the current research on how trauma is stored in varied parts and in different ways in the body. Here are some quotes from the article:
This has led some people to speculate that unprocessed trauma gets “stored” not just in your subconscious mind and memory but throughout your physical being—and that, in addition to more traditional modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy, some sort of physical stimulus or touch may be helpful in releasing it.
While it may not be a totally scientific way to explain what’s happening, there may be some merit to this whole idea of trauma being “stored” in the body—especially when thoughts of the traumatic event are so upsetting and uncomfortable that they get buried as a self-preservation mechanism (when this happens consciously, it’s considered suppressed trauma; when this happens unconsciously, it’s considered repressed).
Symptoms of traumatic stress can also become somatized (i.e., present as genuine physical complaints as opposed to complaints of emotional distress) when the psychological nature of the symptoms is too scary or daunting for the patient to accept, and considered taboo by society.
Here is the link to the entire article which is well worth reading:
The article discusses a variety of approaches to dealing with internalized trauma. Talk therapy is one intervention that can also help other methods like EMDR, massage, yoga, and acupuncture to help relieve symptoms and release some of the trauma tension that may exist in the body. This type of research answers questions that individuals may have who are experiencing the symptoms of trauma. We need to not only be aware of but also open to integrative approaches that can help mitigate these symptoms. It is my hope that this type of research will provide help and hope to trauma-impacted individuals who may be stuck in some of the body responses to trauma.